Friday, October 24, 2014

the king is not scary part 1

My friend Jessica Jobes, fellow blogger and avid reader, has taken on the #31DaysofWriting Challenge, dedicating her blog to book reviews--one book every day, for the entire month of October. I can tell you that she and I have different reading piles, though I think she'd be more likely to read some of the stuff in my stack in as I would be to read what she has in her stack.

She said in a Facebook post the other day that she had finished reading "Mr. Mercedes" by Stephen King... now, this is a dandy of a book, and unlike many of his horror/supernatural tales that King writes. This is a straight up serial killer whodunit cat-n-mouse chase kind of story... and so Jessica (who did a review of this very book on her own page today) asks what other Stephen King books are set in real life, and aren't supernatural, horror sort of stories.

And so I thought I would give that list of those non-horror, but still suspenseful and creepy Stephen King novels that I've read... some of them may have a touch of supernatural, but it's not in a frightening way.  All of these are available on, by the way, and I've listened to them all, as well as read the printed page.

Written under the pseudonym "Richard Bachman", it's a dystopian tale of a "Walk", where teenage boys of a certain age are commanded to... well, walk. And walk. And walk. And walk. To win, you don't outpace the other boys, or raise more money or fight anyone... you just outlast everyone else. As in, you are the last one alive. It seems like a long book for such a simple premise, but this is early in King's career... the characters are interesting, but I did find myself just wanting the book to end at some point. I liked it, but won't re-read it.  (384 pages)

Though it's kind of a crappy movie, I actually liked the film, starring David Keith, George C. Scott and a very young Drew Barrymore... but the book is 1000x better. Andy and his daughter Charlie are on the run from the government, as Andy is telekentic, and Charlie... well, she can start fires. The novel chronicles their journey, and those who betray them, culminating with one heckuva flame throwing final scene. (426 pages)

CUJO (1981)
You know the basic story... a big St. Bernard named Cujo... he gets rabies... and he starts drooling a lot and killing a lot more. It centers on two families, the Cambers and the Trentons. The former is the family that owns the dog, the latter is a family that is falling apart due to an affair by the mom, Donna. Cujo gets bitten by a bat, and it's on. A small part of the narrative even looks at the story from the dog's point of view, which is a twist. The movie with Dee Wallace (I can't remember if she was "Stone" or not) is not bad, though the ending is different. (319 pages)

MISERY (1987)
You probably know this story as well... writer Paul Sheldon is wrapping up a very popular series of books, centering on his character "Misery Chastain", and as tradition, goes up to a secluded log cabin to finish the book--and the character--off. A freak snowstorm sends his vehicle into a wooded snowbank, and he's rescued by Annie Wilkes, who turns out to be quite the superfan. Most of the book surrounds the tense relationship between Paul and Annie, who just will not have her favorite character ending the story. The book is brutal in what happens to Paul--if you've seen the movie, there's a scene where Annie breaks Paul's foot with a hammer to keep him from escaping... what she does in the book is just horrendous... (320 pages)

Undoubtedly you have seen this film, but the book(s) are even better as a whole. In 1995, it was announced that in early 1996, Stephen King would release a new novel, but broken up over 6 parts. The first, "Two Dead Girls" would come out in March of '96, then every six weeks, there would be a new chapter in the story.

The parts included "The Mouse on the Mile"... "Coffey's Hands"... "The Bad Death of Edward Delacroix"... "Night Journey" and "Coffey on the Mile", and aside from the last book, all were just under 100 pages. "Coffey on the Mile" was 144 pages. Back before Algore's Internets, I had to go to the bookstore to find out when these would come out, and the day of the release, I was at Walmart, spending my hard earned $4.44 to buy each one, consuming it by midnight.

In 1932, John Coffey, an enormous, but kind hearted and simple black fella, is arrested after he is found holding two dead little girls that were missing. He is taken to the Cold Mountain Penitentiary, led by supervisor Paul Edgecombe, a nice enough guy, with his fellow officers Brutal and a few others, and the sadistic and cruel Percy Whitmore. You also meet a few other inmates that become intrigal to the story, especially a little mouse that is known as "Mr. Jingles", along the way... there is a touch of supernatural, once you find out what John Coffey is actually all about, and you'll find yourself wanting to read each part, telling yourself "Oh, its only 100 more pages..."

This is readily available in novel form as a whole, or you can find it in a used book store in the original six parts, which is what I did a few years ago. Why, you ask, don't I have the novels that I bought originally? Well, I lent them to a chick friend in college, because she smiled at me, and she had a pretty smile. And I never got them back. She's actually here in town now, we are friends on Facebook, but I have never bothered to ask if she still had them.  (By the way--if you've never seen this movie, you should.  It's incredibly well done, suspenseful and heartbreaking.)

Part 2 to come soon, with five more "not scary King" books...

those hollywood nights, those big disney thrills

(As part of the #31DaysofWriting Challenge, we are challenged to write every single day.  Today, I'm going to cheat... well, sort of cheating... I took something that I wrote in 2011, and rewrote it, all about the trip that The Lovely Steph Leann & I took to Disneyland--not World, but Land.  I thought it was still good material, having been a draft post since June of 2011... so with the re-write, it totally counts for the daily challenge!) 

So back in May of 2011, The Lovely Steph Leann and I took a somewhat whirlwind trip (said me to her when we got back:  "that was a whirlwind trip... but then again, they all are, aren't they?") to Anaheim, California, to Disneyland--now, this is before Campbell Isaiah came along, though he was actually in The Lovely Steph Leann's tummy (or uterus, if we want to be exact).

We had a few free passes (thanks to our friends The Halperts & the Clarks) to work with, passes that would expire on May 28th of 2011 if they were not used.  We had a couple of Southwest flights to use, or they would expire, and we ended up using some Marriott points that The Lovely Steph Leann had accrued and saved over the years.  So, we flew for free, stayed for free and went for free, which makes for a nice weekend... I'd love to tell you we saved loads of money, but we just turned around and spent that money on important things like blankets, pins, a Boo plush and way too expensive corn dogs and lobster.  (but not together cause... well, eww).

We flew into LAX from Birmingham on a flight that left at 710 in the morning--Big Daddy Ron and Mama Ruthless picked us up at 545 and took us to The Birmingham International Airport & Package Store, and we were boarding within an hour of arrival.  The flight landed in Phoenix, though we kept the same flight.  (text from Hurricane Rhett, after I left a FB status that said "We are in Phoenix":  "What, did you lose a bet"?) We did end up dashing off the plane, though, to grab some lunch at the Airport Wendys and then back on the plane were we discovered the joys of the two seats by the emergency exit.

If you are willing to take the burden of the lives of 200 people on your shoulders in the .04% that plane goes down, sit by the emergency exit.  On our flight there (and the place back as well), there were two seats with extra leg room, instead of the cramped three seat row the rest of the plane dealt with.  I understood the risk and the lives (or loss thereof) of the passengers on the plane was an acceptable risk for us to have a little breathing room.

We arrived at LAX around 1130 in the morning, but due to the time change in flying west, the whole trip took about five hours or so... we came off the plane and into the terminal, I looked around in wonder as I was now in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, LA, LaLaLand, Hollyweird... and it looked... it looked... well, like an airport terminal.  Not an especially impressive one, at that.

After getting our luggage, we headed outside to catch a cab, which was a predetermined decision.  We didn't really look at shuttles because we were told by numerous people that shuttles and cabs would be about the same price, and a shuttle would stop at several different locations while a cab would take us straight there--we were headed to the Marriott Towne Place Suites in Anaheim, about a half mile from the stadium were the Anaheim Angels play, and about two miles from Disneyland itself. 

In not researching effectively like we should, we learned quickly two things when it comes to traveling via cab... first, its better to fly into a closer airport.  LAX is about 35 miles from our hotel, while John Wayne Airport is only about 20 or so.  Second, a shuttle is better.  You pay one price, set, per person.   This lesson was grounded into our brains as we watched the little fare meter tick up 30 cents at a time, every 1/9th of a mile.  One-ninth of a mile.  Thats about 3 bucks per mile.  For 35 miles.

To make sure we weren't being hornswoggled, I pulled up the GPS on my iPhone and punched in the address and map from LAX to Towne Place... Valerty Kozhevnikov (I didn't make that name up, and had to look at it about nine times when I typed it into a comment on Facebook) followed pretty much the same route as listed on my GPS, and my man was flying through some of it.  But nonentheless, the bill at the end, plus tip, topped out around $115.  Valerty didn't smile one bit the entire ride, nor really even speak to us besides, "What izz you travel to?" at the beginning... until he was unloading our luggage.  "You vacation?"  Yes, going to Disneyland.  "Yes, good place.  You have much fun."  Thank you sir.  Here is your fare.  "Thank you so much."  Big smile, and he was gone.

It was kind of a neat ride though... not for the cab itself, but to pass by all these signs representing streets and neighborhoods I hear about in pop culture... Compton and Long Beach, together?  Man, you know you in trouble.

Anyway, we checked in, it was a nice little room with a small living space (that we never sat in), a small kitchen (that we only used to keep a half full bottle of stale Coke and a partly sipped-out-of bottle of water cold), a bathroom that was functional and a bedroom that had a bed that was decently comfy enough for sleeping after walking a theme park... have to understand something, though... if any of you were to call us from Disney World in Orlando, and say, "Hey, I'm standing facing Stitch's Great Escape, and I need to get to the Splash Mountain bathrooms... can you help me?" either me or The Lovely Steph Leann would quickly start in with, "Okay, so go left across the bridge and..."  But at Disneyland?  We have no clue.   At Disney World, we can easily navigate from pretty much any of the resorts, choosing to either drive (which we do to most parks except for Magic Kingdom) or take a boat (which we would if we were staying at Wilderness Lodge) or a bus (which we do sometimes if we are going to Magic Kingdom) or a monorail (perfect for getting to the Grand Flo, the Temp or the Poly)...

But Anaheim is a whole different animal.  Its a big ol' town nestled in a bigger ol' city, and unlike WDW, we were staying off-property, which means we were on our own when it came to getting around.  We discoverd the ART, the Anaheim Resort Transit system and for $16 bucks each, we bought five day passes that would allow us rides to the park at :20 after the hour and from the park at :40 after the hour.   Of course, this again is not what we are used to, because when we want to leave Hollywood Studios we... well, we leave.  We catch the boat to Epcot, or the bus to our resort, or we just hop in the car.  But suddenly we were on a time schedule to make sure we were in time to catch the bus to the park, or risk waiting another hour (or, heaven forbid, a cab ride), and we had to be back at the bus stop soon enough to catch the bus to the hotel, or risk being caught for another hour (or, heaven forbid, miss the last bus of the night and face a cab ride).

So, we get our luggage down, we get changed and take a little nap, and around 3pm (this is Pacific, ie, Cali time) we were up and getting ready for Disneyland.  We were at the bus stop at 320, and the bus pulled up about ten minutes later, which would prove to be a habit for these ART rides. 

Luckily, the bus stop is a mere three minute walk from the front gates of the park...

...but before I dive into our vacation, let me give you a little background on Disneyland, just so you'll know. 

I'm a nut for Disney history, and much of this info comes from Neal Gabler's excellent Walt Disney bio called simply, "Walt Disney", and some of it comes from just reading various blogs and listening to Disney podcasts and the like. (ps... this is before I became a Disney Travel Specialist... want me to plan your trip?  Gimme a call...)

Disneyland was a creation of Walt Disney, and legend has it that he was with his daughters one day in a park, and began to wonder why there wasn't a place for the whole family to go and have fun together.  Though passed off as fact, even in Wikipedia, this has never been substantiated, and Neal Gabler writes in the aforementioned bio that a number of his fellow animators and employees would say that Walt all told them his idea in a different way, and few of their re-tellings has Walt saying nothing about his family at the park.

What started out as a small idea for a "Mickey Mouse Park" soon evolved into a much larger plan for a "Walt Disney Land", soon shortened to "Disney Land" and then "Disneyland", and construction started in 1954.  The park opened for a "Press preview day" that invited the press and media, as well as celebrities from around the area and their families.  What was supposed to be a stellar day was a nightmare for Disney.  They were expecting around 10 to 12K people, but over 28,000 people showed up that day.  The asphalt was still so new that ladies high heels were sinking into the ground, the plumber's strike in the area barely got the restrooms working and left them without working water fountains.  The press saw this as a greedy attempt to sell more soda and reported it as such.

Since it was in July, it was hot, but the summer of 55 saw the temperature top 101 degrees, with vendors running out of food, attractions breaking down for part or all of the day, and even though only a certain number of tickets were given out, there were people with ladders propped up on the side of the wall offering anyone and everyone a chance to climb the ladder and get in for a few bucks.   The celebrities that were scheduled to show up actually had a schedule, where their arrival times were staggered all day... and yet, they showed up pretty much all at once.  July 17th, 1955 was called "Black Sunday" years later by Walt Disney and the company.

July 18th, however, could not have been smoother.  Things were working, the water was on, the food was there and over 50,000 people came in on the official "Opening Day".

Disneyland opened with five lands:  Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland and Main Street USA, then added three more lands in the coming years, that being New Orleans Square (1966),  Bear Country, which then became Critter Country (1972) and Mickey's Toontown (1993).  There was a "Holidayland" that opened in 1957, but it closed in 1961, and is considered the "lost land" in Disney lore.

Disneyland is tucked in the heart of Anaheim with a nearby park, California Adventure (and I do mean "nearby", as I counted 207 of my footsteps from one gate to the other), and when you pull up, you can see immediately some differences.  Mostly that there is non-Disney businesses--hotels, restaurants, banks, touristy shops--tightly surrounding the parks.   Walt would later lament the fact that he wasn't able to buy a lot of land in the area, which led to the flurry of places opening up and trying to capitalize on the Disneyland patrons.  He felt that, if you can be on Dumbo's Flying Circus and look out and see a hotel sign, the fantasy, the illusion of imagination was ruined. 

It was this thinking that led him to a Disneyland East, eventually called "The Florida Project"... buying enough land in Central Florida so once you entered the Walt Disney World, you could completely immerse yourself in the experience without outside distractions. 

In 1991, an idea was floated around concerning a second park in California, notably "WestCOT", a California version of Epcot, but by 1995, those plans were all but abandoned.  A new park was in the works, though, and in 1998, the parking lot for Disneyland was pulled up and turned into Disney's California Adventure, which opened in 2001.

DCA was one of Michael Eisner's last big accomplishments before his ouster in the early 2000s, though it had a rocky beginning.  For one thing, many people felt the attractions and rides weren't up to normal Disney standards in both entertainment value and quality, with some critics calling the park "mediocre".  Over time, however, Disney removed some failing attractions and added in new ones, like The Tower of Terror, and of course The World of Color, that has revived the park and peoples interest in it.  Though coming in last in all of Disney's theme parks in the world rankings in 2009, it still finished as the 11th most visited park in the world.

In 2007, Disney announced a billion dollar renovation of the park which will included a new gateway, a transformation of part of the park to the 1930s style Hollywood, instillation of vintage red trolley cars, retheming Paradise Pier into a Victorian style turn of the century boardwalk park, and of course, the addition of Cars Land, starring McQueen, Mater and the gang.

So, there is your update. 

(And this is where it ends, which is good, because I don't remember the day to day of the trip, just that we had a blast... thanks for reading)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

nick cannon and marriage

It's late on Thursday, and The Lovely Steph Leann is working hard, packing her suitcase chilling on the couch while we watch a movie, as she is set to travel to San Diego early tomorrow morning.

What's the movie, you ask? I'm about to type a sentence that I've never typed before... we are watching a movie starring Nick Cannon. It's called "Underclassmen", and it's so unknown, I can't find the Wikipedia page for it. It's got a 3.9 on IMDb, and it earns that distinction. 

We are chuckling at some parts, like you would at a frat dude in the mall slipping in water and falling on his rump. It's a terrible film... and still, it's got a few lines here and there. Apparently, there is a dead student at an uppity private school, and rookie cop Tre--played to the hilt by the former Mr. Mariah Carey--gets the assignment to play a high school student to try and find out if the suicide was really a suicide and so on and so on...

I told The Lovely Steph Leann, "Here's how this will go... he'll meet a student, she'll feel betrayed when she finds out he's not a student for real, and yet, she'll come back around when he rescues her from the danger she'll be in later."

The Lovely Steph Leann corrected me... "She can't go for a student... she'll be a teacher's assistant or something." And when Nick Cannon walked into Spanish class, she says, "And there she is."

And yes, you just read a post from me about a Nick Cannon movie.

This is marriage. Making the most mundane things fun to share together. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

shotglass to the bigtime

If you know me at all on social media, you'll undoubtedly have heard that I co-host a podcast. I've been doing it since April of 2011, with my friends Mikey & Pinky... I won't get into all of it, because I've discussed at length before...

New Logo... made with Power Point and clip art.  Not kidding.

...but our latest episode is now featured on ShotGlass Digital's webpage. Why? Because we are the newest podcast on the ShotGlass Digital Network.

What does that mean? Well, think of it this way...

Being picked up by podcasting network is like going from an independant YouTube show to a cable channel show... perhaps the cable channel is small, but the exposure is so much more.

ShotGlass Digital is kind of like Disney, without the bajillionty dollars in the bank. Disney owns ABC, ABC Family, ESPN, theme parks, Disney Channel, Disney XD, and so on and so on... in the same respect, ShotGlass features our show, TechnoRetro Dads, Rebel Force Radio, a James Bond Podcast, Skywalking Through Neverland, a Planet of the Apes podcast, and so on...

And whereas ESPN is like it's own entity under Disney, with offshoots of its own... The Geek Out Loud series of podcasts are under ShotGlass Digital, with offshoots of its own.

Anyway, I invite you to head to ShotGlass Digital and look around. If you listen to podcasts, then check out the few dozen shows there... if you are a nerd or a geek, there is something for everyone, I promise.

If you want to hear the latest episode, it's all about our favorite scary films, just in time for Halloween... give us a listen, and if you like it, head to iTunes and give us a review. Five stars is our favorite number. =)

Shameless plug post over.

i have seen the future, lil d$

I opened up the blog page as normal, then clicked on "new post", then sat back for a second. See, I've written for 21 straight days. The ideas are there... but they are longer ideas, and I don't want to write something that will be overlooked by afternoon tomorrow.

And then my friend Debra Hennessy put a simple post on Facebook, one that said:

If you could go back in time and say something to yourself in middle school, what would you say?

So then, I managed to reply in a quick comment... and realized that this is my blog post for the evening. 

So, allow me to give you the ten things that 39 Year Old d$ would tell Lil d$ in 1988, right between 7th and 8th grade..

1. "Lil d$... I know you have a crush on (name withheld). It's fine. You probably won't have this same crush in a few weeks, but you should stop now. I've seen the future, and she's not a very pleasant person. You can stop wasting your time now.

2. "Lil d$... you are actually going to marry someone who is in a grade below you right now, who is living in Jasper at this very moment. Wait, maybe it's somewhere in Mississippi. I've seen the future, and you'll do just fine."

3. "Lil d$... be nicer to those kids over there. You are poking fun now really just to make some others laugh. Not cool. They are going to be somebody. You'll want them in your corner."

4. "Lil d$... survive French Class. It sucks. You'll never need it. You might get a laugh out of a word here or there in a Sonic commercial that you'll see when... Sonic? It's a fast food place that... that's not important. My point is, I've seen the future, and you won't need French."

5. "Lil d$... conversely, find somewhere to learn Spanish. Right now. Go to a class, take a correspondence course, do whatever you need to do, but learn it. I've seen the future, it will come in handy bigtime."

6. "Lil d$... join the band now. You'll join in a year or two, but don't wait. You'll find out some of the best times you had in high school were being part of the marching band, so don't wait. I've seen the future, and you'll wish you played saxophone longer."

7. "Lil d$... you'll be getting your first job in a year or two. Sure, you'll blow some of your earnings, and that's fine. But save some. Give 10%, save 10%, and do what you will with the rest. And if you even think of opening up a credit card when you get to college, I don't care what Rebecca Miller says, I will come back here and punch me in the face. I've seen the future, and credit cards own you for a decade."

8. "Lil d$... I know you write now. You like to write. And that's cool. But don't stop in college. Keep writing. Keep doing it. And when it comes about 1995, when you get on AOL for the first time, you'll want to open up a Blog Site. B-L-O-G... yeah, rhymes with LOG. Blog. You'll know it. I have seen the future, and you'll want to start this early."

9. "Lil d$... Mom and Dad. They love you. So very much. A lot will happen between now and when they pass. Cherish the time you have. Even when it gets tough to cherish... cherish it. I've seen the future, and don't lose time."

10. "Read more. Get copies of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' and 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Pride & Prejudice' and 'Wuthering Heights' and others, and read them. Love Samson High, but they aren't the most pressing when it comes to the classics... I have seen the future, and you'll wish you had read them already."

And here's a bonus, Lil d$...

"You need to write a story. I'll give you an idea... okay, a boy named Harry Potter. Yes, just like the main character from that movie Troll. But this Harry is a wizard. He goes to a school called... write this down... Hogwarts. HOG-W-A-R-T-S... and he has these two friends, named Ron and Hermione. Yes, 'Her-My-Ah-Nee'. Trust me. Oh, and when you are taking a break from writing, here's a business you need to start.. open up a teddy bear store where families come to YOU and pay YOU to make their own toys. Build A Bear. I have seen the future, and this is a good idea."

Oh yeah, one more thing...

"Lil d$... it doesn't matter. I know it seems like your world is ending when so and so said this, and so and so didn't do that... but I've seen the future. And It.Doesnt.Matter..."

What would you tell Lil You?

Monday, October 20, 2014

back in the day word play

Today, our friend Meredith Quintana became Meredith Pavey. After so many years of wandering alone, she--to quote my favorite Cher song (and I do have one)--"finally found someone... to take away the heartache... to take away the loneliness..."

It was a great wedding, I was given a chance to do a little MC work, though all I did really was introduce the Bride and Groom, then announce they are doing a garter toss, without the garter (Jason tossed a football with a prize, Meredith tossed a flower bouquet with a prize) and then to fruitlessly call for everyone to go outside to light sparklers to see the couple off. With four announcements, finally people started to move.

Fun fact... our friend Amy McL was supposed to be a bridesmaid, but was getting over strep throat so though she was there, she wasn't able to be a part of the wedding. Had she been in the bridal party, I observed that I actually went out with 1/2 of the bridesmaids from 1999-2001 (naturally before The Lovely Steph Leann and I started our romantic interlude). Thought it was worth a mention. Which is probably an odd statement, once you see where this whole thing is going.

I have satellite radio. I love my satellite radio, SiriusXM to be exact, and my main channel, in position #1 on the radio dials of Red Robin (my Kia Soul) is 90s on 9. Now, to add to that, you have to know I am a sucker for countdown shows... a local station puts a classic edition of Casey's Top 40 during Sunday morning's programming, and if America's Top 40 channel existed on SiriusXM, I'd listen to that a heckuva lot. 

Coming back from the wedding, The Lovely Steph Leann determined that according to Google Maps, it would take 52 minutes to get home... and as I turned on Button #1, which was 90s on 9, and looky there, it's Downtown Julie Brown telling me that we are nearing the end of the Back in the Day Replay, where they play a Top 30 countdown from this week in a past year...

This was songs from 1990, the countdown from the weekend of 10/19-21... I was in 10th grade, it was probably around homecoming time and not being that popular, I was at home on the weekends listening to the radio. 

The song that was on as The Lovely Steph Leann and I started listening? "Everybody Everybody" by Black Box. It was a song that I kinda knew, I had it on my Entertainment Weekly Maximum Music Dance Hits Disc 1, a CD set I got for free when I subscribed to EW like, back in 1994 or something. 

So as we chatted on the way back, we listened to the countdown...

"Romeo" by Dino. I didn't really know this song very well, but I was very, very familiar with Dino's first hit, "I Like It"... "you told me that you loved me now girl show me, cause that's the thing I like to do... I never ever ever had such pleasure of giving up my love this way, I want you every day... take me by the hand, I will be your man, cause that's the way you make me feel... take me by surprise, look into my eyes, show me that your love is real... that's the way it has to be cause that's the way I like it..."

Another song that came up was Nelson's "Your Love and Affection (I can't live without)"... "I been on the outside looking in, let me into your heart, oh, there's on nothing on Earth that should keep us apart! I can't live without your love and affection, I can't face another night on my own, I give up my pride, save me from being alone, I can't live without your love..."

This is one of my favorite live albums, and the cover makes me wish
I had somehow made it to this show.  How cool does that look?
And one of my favorites by Phil Collins, from "...but seriously", which The Lovely Steph Leann and I discussed the live album version, which we both loved... "We had a live, we had a love, but you don't know what you got til you lose it... but that was then, this is now, I want you back--how many times can I say I'm sorry... yes, I'm sorry... how can something so good go so bad, how can something so right go so wrong... I don't know, I don't have all the answers, but I want you back--how many times can I say I'm sorry..."

I even observed that there was a little extra something on the lines Phil gave in the live version as opposed to the radio version we were listening to.

And of course, there is this little ditty... "take heed, cause I'm a lyrical poet Miami's on the scene just in case you didn't know it so fast other DJs say dadgum if rhyme was a drug I'd sell it by the gram keep my composure when it's time to get lose, magnified on the mic when I kick my juice, if there was a problem yo I'll solve it check out the hook while my DJ revolves it"... which I of course knew every single word, and sung every single word.

As James Ingram's "I Don't Have a Heart" came on, and The Lovely Steph Leann said "YES! I Love this song!!" some thoughts rolled through my own mind.

I just reeled off nearly every word to Vanilla Ice... Phil Collins... Nelson... a Dino song... I was getting through most of James Ingram's song on now... and when Maxi Priest's "Close To You" came on at #2, as we neared our neighborhood, I blew through it too: "I just wanna be close to you... do all the things you want me to, I just wanna be close to you... show you the way I feel... I feel love when I'm lying in the midnight hour... holding you is like a dream... love is never what it seemed... when we touched, and you're holding me the way you do, girl you make my dreams come true, YOU MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE!!!!"

How do I know these songs? How do I still remember these songs? Is it because I have attached memories to these songs? Is it because each of these listed songs has at least 15-20 plays on my iPod at one point or another? It is because I purposefully and willfully seek them out to listen to them when I can? Yes. Yes, to all of it. Yes.

And so do you. You know songs backwards and forwards, be it "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks to "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift, I guarantee there are a couple of songs you hold dear enough to remember not just words, but inflections, extra sounds, tones and so on... like Phil Collins "Yayee!" he tosses on the end of the live version's lines of "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven".

But what if...
...what if... Dear goodness... what if I held Scripture in such high regard?

What if I were able to flip up a few channels, to somewhere in the 60s or 70s, or whatever channels the Christian music is on, what if they had Piper or Beth Moore someone, and they were reading Scripture, and I was able to just "sing" or speak long with them? 

What if, as Galatians 2:19-21 were being read, I could say "For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing"...

Or what if, when someone reads Romans 8: 1-3, when they said, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering..." that it wasn't like Taylor Swift's new song "Out of the Woods", where I only know the first verse, but stumble mightily through the rest.

To treat the Word of God with as much reverence, as much importance, as much dedication to learning it and keeping it on me at all times as I do Lisa Loeb's "Stay", of which I can fire off that entire song in 60 seconds if needed. 

Confession, if you promise not to tell anyone... all the musical lyrics I listed above were straight from memory... all the scripture was looked up on my phone. And had to be searched for. Because I suck at my Christian Walk. 

Just some food for thought... or some word for thought.

Oh yeah, the #1 song in America, on this weekend back in 1990 on SiriusXM's 90s on 9 Back in the Day Replay hosted by Downtown Julie Brown?

"Praying for Time" by George Michael. 

To that I simply say... We have plenty of Time. We need to pray for what fills it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

college weekend roundup

So, here I am, for the third week in a row, giving my recap for the college football Saturday that was. Not nearly as much chaos as when the college world exploded a few weeks ago, but a few upsets that give a few observations as usual...

First... Oklahoma. They Were Who We Thought They Were
That Boomer Sooner wagon that comes rolling out and around the field was essentially driven into the ditch and left for dead. Kansas State came into Norman, Oklahoma, and left with another victory over the Sooners. Pat Forde said something to the effect of "Stop me if you've heard this before... Oklahoma enters the season highly ranked and looks like they will make a run at the title, only to slowly play their way out of contention." 

And to that I say, "Oklahoma... ready to play a better, yet uninspired SEC team in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day." 

You could easily make the argument that Oklahoma lost the game, rather than K-State winning it, because the kicker (YOU HAD ONE JOB!) shanked a 19 yard field goal at the end, but my reply to such an argument has always been--the game should never come down to a missed field goal... your offense shouldn't put the kicker in that position.

Second... Auburn's Win over K-State Looks Really Good Right Now
Oklahoma's failings aside, Kansas State is a pretty good ball club. When Auburn went into K-State's home field and eked out a victory, and it was derided as "struggling to beat a mediocre ball club" (something Florida State has done several times this year). And now Kansas State has beaten the Sooners, are 5-1, are strong contenders for the Big XII title, and suddenly have an outside shot of making the Football Final Four.

Third... The Pac 12 This Year is What Everyone Thought the SEC Would Be
It's true. All we heard was how the SEC is down, missing key players and quarterbacks, and will likely have 2 losses per team, and might struggle to even make the Football Final Four. Well, the Pac 12 is exactly that. They are completely cannibalizing each other, the latest being Arizona State beating Stanford a few minutes ago. The SEC has four really great teams, one or two really good teams, and then the rest. The Pac 12 has no really great teams, but a bunch of really good teams that are just beating each other. 

Fourth... Muschamp? Like, MusCHUMP
Will Muschamp will soon enter the Hall of Shame alongside Ron Zook as a Florida coach who just couldn't get it done. Missouri went into the Swamp in Gainesville, and did what so many other teams are doing now... beat Florida. Handily. Like 42-13. There is a stat that tells you all you need to know... teams that hold the other team to less than 140 total yards (maybe its 120, maybe its rushing yards, but you see what I'm saying) are something like, 142-2 lifetime. The two losses? Will Muschamp's Gators. Not sure if he'll make it until Monday.

Fifth... Hawaii Loses
The final college football game of the day is San Diego State and Hawaii, in San Diego. With only a few seconds left in the game, San Diego State will beat Hawaii 20-10. The announcers just said that it's 16 straight road losses for Hawaii, and then he called them "the Rainbow Warriors". Didn't know that was still a thing. Also, this is the fourth straight week that I've stayed up to see the last play of the final game of the day. I like this trend..

Sixth... No Matter What, Jameis Winston Is a Great Player
For all the crap I give Florida State, and for all the opinions I share with many that Winston should be benched because he's got this hearing over his head, no one can deny that he is an amazing football player. Watching him work, watching him fire down the field and lead Florida State to get the go-ahead touchdown, it's pretty impressive. He's just a punk. And that's the problem.

That being said...

Seventh... Notre Dame Was the Better Team
The Irish won the game. It was a questionable holding call at the end, one that I really can't argue, but could have been called either way. Don't know his name, but the dude who held the FSU defender in the end zone, which resulted in offensive pass interference, which resulted in the touchdown with about :13 seconds left to be called back... that dude cost the Irish a shot at the national title... if the Irish win this game, they are likely to go undefeated again. However, it's what I said earlier about Oklahoma's kicker, and the same goes for the Irish--your team shouldn't be in that position anyway. 

The Seminoles will definitely go undefeated, because they just don't play anyone the rest of the year. For all the talk about the B1G being a crap conference, the ACC is pretty terrible.

Finally... Alabama Just Scored
They literally could have dropped 83 points on Texas A&M... nothing, and I mean nothing went right for the Aggies today. No defense, hostile environment and they just got outplayed in every way. And don't we remember in Week One, when they dominated South Carolina, how Kenny Hill was now on track for the Heisman, and how A&M was likely to be a Final Four Team? I'll brag and say I was one of the few people on social media that was like "yeah, let's just wait a few weeks to see what happens..."

It's notable that this time last year, Auburn was 24th in the rankings... and went on to win the SEC and come a few seconds from winning the national title... and Michigan State was unranked... and went on to a Top Five finish, a B1G title and a Rose Bowl win. 

So again, we don't know jack.

My Football Final Four this week...

The Can Happen Edition: (1) Mississippi State... (2) Auburn... (3) Florida State... (4) TCU
The Should-Happen Edition: (1) Mississippi State... (2) Auburn... (3) Alabama... (4) Florida State...

And my top ten
1-Mississippi State
2-Ole Miss
4-Florida State
9-Kansas State
10-Notre Dame

Saturday, October 18, 2014

committed to the writing

It's the weekend... it's 144 in the morning... I just got finished recording our podcast, The Deucecast Movie Show, had a midnight dinner at Waffle House with my fellow co-hosts Mikey and P!nky, and some old friends, Drew Morris and The Hall. Ate too much at too late a time, I probably have all kinds of acid reflux in my future, and that's going to be a terrible thing...

And I'm committed to blogging every single night in October. My Simplicity Friend Corie Clark, author of the amazing book "The Simplicity Project", talked me into it. And since I'm so erratic in blogging when I set my goals such as this, I knew I had to do it. And here I am on Day 18.

Fourteen days to go. And I'm going to bed. I had plans to write something longer, but I fell asleep with my laptop in my lap in between that last paragraph and this one.

Saturday's post to be much longer...

Friday, October 17, 2014

irrelevant failure

My friend Chris Holmes is a writer. And the other day, he wrote about failure. I commented on it. My friend Michele Clark made a comment about my comment that my comment really affected her. So I decided to take that comment and put it here. Feel free to comment.

It’s in the midst of failure in our lives, be it our jobs, our marriage, parenting or so on… we have two choices. We can sit down, in the muck, in the pile of crap that either has been created—or in my case most times, that I have created on my own—and we can whine and scream to God “See what I’m going through!?” as if He can only witness what we allow Him to see, or that He will only notice that which we make the most noise about.

The other choice is that we can stand up, being ankle deep… knee deep.. waist deep… shoulder deep… over our heads deep in the crap we surround ourselves with, and we can say, “Okay, God… I failed. Now… let’s move forward. You lead the way.”

God wants us to move forward. Still, we tend to scream, “Can’t you see what I’ve done? I can’t move forward!”

And God gently replies, “Yes, I see what you’ve done. I also know what Jesus has done, making what your failure irrelevant. Let’s go, we got junk to do.”

And so then, we walk forward. If we walk long enough, and far enough, that crap will eventually dry up and flake off little by little. There may always be a stain, but it will eventually fade too.

And in comparison to what Christ has done, your failures will continue to be irrelevant.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

nothing to blog about

I sat down, laptop open, earbuds in, at a few minutes before midnight, trying to decide what to write about tonight. I've got several ideas brewing, but all will take longer than a few minutes, so while Toni Braxton's "You Mean the World to Me" plays, I am thinking...

...Toni. I loved Toni Braxton in the 90s. Well, I mean, I guess I love her now too, but back in the day, she had this perfection trifecta, this trio of amazing songs that went 1-2-3... "Another Sad Love Song"... then "You Mean the World To Me"... then "Breathe Again". If you add in "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" from the "Boomerang" soundtrack to the beginning of that list, it gets even better. She was amazing.

What you have to know about me is sometimes I revel in nostalgia. More than I should, but it's true. I think I'm like most people in saying that music... more than movies, more that TV shows, more than books... but music, takes me back.

I hear Toni Braxton and one of the aforementioned songs, suddenly I'm sitting in the Adams Student Center, talking to Ginny Kochan over cold pizza during lunch, or I'm sitting on the couch by Bobby Black, playing Mike Tyson's Punch Out on my Nintendo in my dorm room... back to my ideas for a blog. Heck, it's already after midnight, and I still have no idea what to blog about. I wrote a comment on my friend Writer Chris Holmes' blog, and it was a pretty good stream of thought, so maybe I'll type that out. But that's too deep for tonight. Maybe tomorrow night...

...right now, Vertical Horizon's "Everything You Want" is on. I mean, that song? Just cool. I don't know anything else the band has ever done, not sure I want to know, but this one song is so good. It's one of The Lovely Steph Leann's favorite songs, like, ever. It's also fun to sing too--and that's important. A song has to be fun to sing to really make it enjoyable.

Come on, sing it with me... "I am everything you want! I am everything you need! I am everything inside of you that you wish you could be! I say all the right things at exactly the right time, but I mean nothing to you and I don't know why!" ...

...back to the blog. Just read an article that a house was built on the wrong lot. A dream home for a couple, to the tune of $680,000, on a lot that cost 135K when they bought it, but now appraises for 355K in the neighborhood... and it's not on that lot, it's one lot over. Cause the builders messed it all up...

...there's this movie called "Mo Money", starring Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, a pre-Clueless but still just as fine Stacey Dash, and a few other people you may not know. Circa 1993, it's silly and stupid, but I freakin' love that movie. My friend Tonya Windham and I traveled to Panama City Beach for the day (my hometown was 1 hour and 10 minutes from the beach, so this wasn't a long trip) during my senior year of high school... it rained some during the day, so during the rain delay, we caught a flick... and yes, it was this one. We laughed quite a bit, and for whatever reason, it stuck with me.

The only reason I bring up? The soundtrack is absolutely incredible... Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, Ralph Tresvant, Color Me Badd and the song I'm listening to now, MC Lyte's "Ice Cream Dream." Yep, I just said "MC Lyte" and "Ice Cream Dream". Now that I'm older, I listen to the lyrics, and realize it's a little racy. Or a lot racy. But I still love it...





...oh, sorry about that. OutKast's "BOB" video just came on. It's done now. Next up on the random playlist, Extreme's "Hole Hearted", which is one of my favorite 90s tunes. That takes me back to 10th grade, hanging out with my few friends back then. Of course, I had just joined the band, so I had just become a band geek.

I wasn't a popular kid in junior and high school. I mean, I wasn't un-popular, but I think I was like, second tier. You know, you had the more popular kids on top, the cheerleaders like Stephanie Phillips and the beauties of the class like Jennifer Lambert and the athletes like Michael Creech and Daniel Stephenson and even that one guy that just everyone likes, like Chris McCall.

And one level below that, you have the... the popular runner-ups, where if the popular kids can't fulfill their duties, those of us on the 2nd tier would step right in. If we are all going to a party together, I'm the guy that would get picked over some of the lesser bottom feeders in the serf group, but I'd easily get left in favor of Rodney Hornsby or Jason Smith.

By the way, Kid Rock's "Cowboy" is on right now.

Anyway, I'm okay with where I ended up in the hierarchy. It allowed me to make more friends, because I wasn't just sticking with one single group. And I still consider my closest friends, at least in my grade, to be Tonya, Chris and my buddy Greg... I was also good friends with two different Ryans in a different grade, and Jason Howell a few grades back.

"Light My Candle" from the Rent Soundtrack. Spike Lee is shooting down the street.

Then, of course, there was Julie Wise, or as I should call her, The Clouds In My Coffee Official High School Crush Julie Wise. I would imagine there are more and more newer readers to the blog, and are seeing the name "Julie Wise" for the first time here... nearly everyone has that one person that they kinda like, or kinda love for the better part of their high school years. Julie Wise was mine. More on that later...

...since I have nothing to blog about tonight, I guess I can start talking about #40forForty... or maybe it's #Fortyfor40? No, #40for40? #40440? No, that last one is just confusing.

Anyway, as Old Crow Medicine Show strums along to "Wagon Wheel", I'll just tell you that #40forForty is coming very soon. In one month.

...and I'm sorry I have nothing to blog about tonight. I failed in my writing challenge. Off to bed, I'll try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

buying colbie caillet

Today, Colbie Caillet's new CD, "Gypsy Heart" made it's way into my CD player this morning, and it's excellent. Today as I was driving to my office, I thought of Colbie Caillat, and how she has a new album out. I had already made up my mind that I would purchase it, and figured I would just download it...

...but I just didn't want to do that. I am okay with downloading songs, and I'm okay with borrowing a CD from someone, "ripping" or burning it to my laptop for my iPod... but if I buy a CD, I want it in my hands. I want to open the plastic with some sort of sharp tool, or stretch the plastic until it comes off. 

I want to open up the CD and pull the disc out, look at the cover art on the disc, then look at the liner notes. Are the words to the songs in the notes? (not for "Gypsy Heart") I will scan the songwriting details and see if any name pops out. (Caillet had a hand in writing all of them, and a few features Babyface Edmunds, one of my favorite R&B dudes from the 90s). Sometimes the whole packaging will have a new papery smell to it, so I take in that aroma. I scan the "thank yous", just to see if anything looks cool--and yes, sometimes I notice if they thank "Jesus", or just "God", or nothing at all.

There is just something about having the physical CD in my hand. That is, when I actually buy an entire album.  I can imagine this is how someone felt in the 70s and 80s, when buying a brand new record album, taking it home and putting on "Frampton Comes Alive!" or the latest Johnny Cash album onto the record player.

Here's her latest, called "Try"

I don’t buy much music… or should I say, I don’t buy a ton of CDs anymore. A few years back, The Lovely Steph Leann and I went through a CD purge, selling several hundred CDs, donating the ones that wouldn’t sell, and getting rid of lots of cases to put the rest in an album.

There were some that I did keep in the case, though… and we still have over a hundred CDs in towers, and probably 300 or more in a huge CD wallet. One that we never even look in anymore. And we never look in there anymore because all of those songs are my iPod. Yes, I have a 160gb Apple iPod, and it currently contains , according to the “about” screen on the iPod, 16237 songs, 174 videos and 140 various episodes of various podcasts.

And the songs are all over the map… for instance, I’ll go to songs and hit shuffle, then it the next button ten times… this is what just came up…
  • Something Good This Way Comes by Jakob Dylan
  • I Want It All by Ashley Tisdale, from the High School Musical 3 Soundtrack
  • It’s All Coming Back to Me Now, by Celine Dion
  • How Long by The Benjamin Gate.
  • Every Step of the Way by The Monkees
  • I Have a Dream from the Mamma Mia! Broadway Soundtrack
  • Velcro Fly by ZZ Top
  • Letter Home by The Forester Sisters
  • Burning of the Midnight Lamp by Jimi Hendrix
  • Pomp & Circumstances, March 1, 2 and 3 as performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for Fantasia 2000
It’s a bit ridiculous, really… aside from the Celine Dion song, and maybe The Forester Sisters, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually listened to any of those songs on my iPod. Well, I’ve probably heard part of the Mamma Mia! song, but probably as I was skipping past it to get to the other songs I like better.

I remember my first CD ever… well, there were two. “The Hit Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber” as performed by the various Broadway cast members in their respective songs… and the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack. My first box set ever was “Listen to the Band”, a retrospective collection of The Monkees. Incidentally, that was also my first purchase with my brand new Discover card. It was historic, in that it was a historically bad decision, but that’s another story for another day…

CDs have always been something of a special thing for me. I mean, vinyl records are as well, but perhaps that is more so now because they are more rare and collectable… I’m not sure how collectible Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” on vinyl is, but I have it, so there’s that.

Cassettes were a little different, seemingly a little more expendable, as they seemed to have a life on them. I’ve had tapes break or get worn out before, and had to replace them, and you could copy those, taking away some of the mystique, some of the air of “you can only get this at the store” elitism of it. When I was in junior high school, I would borrow friends cassettes, record them onto a Memorex or, as my tape of choice, Sony blank cassette. Then I would walk the block to the library, pay 25 cents and make a photocopy of the tape’s liner notes. Then I would very carefully cut the black and white paper out, very carefully fold it, and then insert it into the cassette case. Though the cover wasn’t color, it was nearly as good in my mind.

I did this with Europe’s “Final Countdown” album, borrowing it from my friend Daniel Stephenson in 7th grade. A year later, he offered to sell it to me for five dollars, which I took him up on it, paying him $1 per day for a week. The cover was slightly bent, but when I asked him about it, Daniel, already a big, stocky dude, replied, “Don’t say anything about that… that happened when you did that copier thing to it.”

Looking back… well, that’s kinda ridiculous, ain’t it?

In the late 80s to the mid-90s, I also dove into the Cassette Single, or “Cassingle”, trade, collecting 204 over the course of those years. My first was Guns N Roses “Paradise City” in 1988, bought during a trip to Wiregrass Commons mall after a math tournament trip (this was a team that I didn’t make in high school)… and my last was “Crush” by Jennifer Paige in 1998, bought for $1 at some forgotten music store—Sam Goody, Coconuts, On Cue, who knows.

The Enterprise, Alabama, WalMart Supercenter was one of the first one of it’s kind in the country when it opened in the late 80s, and in front of it, in a little strip building that houses four or five small stores, was Starship Records & Tapes. My friend Greg and I would go there frequently and pick up whatever just came out… he turned me onto the Stone Temple Pilots, so I got “Core”, their first album, on cassette there, along with whatever other Cassette Single came out that I wanted. Starship was a great place… and has long since closed.

The joy of removing the plastic.. and Colbie
does the paper case, which eliminates that
annoying label that goes across the top
that makes you break your fingernails to
peel off sometimes. This is a great album
CDs used to cost anywhere from 15 to 20 bucks per, and they would come in this long box that was a musical version of potato chips. The CD was in a case the size that you see today, but it would have another six to 10 inches of packaging to it, mostly empty air. At the Walmart in Geneva, the first CD I ever picked up and held was Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” in 1990… they had about 25 different CDs behind a Plexiglas wall, with holes where you could stick your arms in and pick up the CDs for a look—but the holes weren’t big enough to fit the CDs back through, so you had to get an attendant to open up the case, and they would ring you up right there.

A few years later, they got rid of the big “long boxes” as they were called, and went to plastic casing that had to be “unlocked” by the cashier. It would encase the CD, then have another square of plastic under it, probably for presentation purposes. Contrast that with today, where you go to WalMart and see an enormous cardboard bin with 100s of CDs in it, just piled up every which way and again, with a big “ONLY $5” sign on the side.

The CD was truly my high school and college generation. Sure, I had tapes as a younger dude, but when I drove, all I wanted was a car with a CD player in it. My first several cars didn’t have that, so I had to use a cassette adapter to plug into a CD Walkman that I had on my passenger side seat—usually sitting on something soft like a t-shirt or a towel, to help cushion it from skipping too badly.

I didn’t get a CD player in my car until 2008… and ironically enough, I would love to have a tape player in my car now. I gave away all of my 100s of regular cassettes, but am stubbornly holding onto my 200+ cassette singles, even though I have absolutely no way to play them anywhere.

Don’t get me wrong… I love my iPod. Its probably one of the top five most important, most influential purchase I’ve ever made, it revolutionized the way I listen to music from the first day I bought it and loaded it up, and with the advent of podcasts and audiobooks in the last few years, it’s completely changed my entire mentality on music and what I listen to…

Ten years ago… even five years ago, really, before I got an iPhone, I had to wait until I could purchase a song or an album I wanted… but now? If I like a song, I download it immediately. Last night, I heard Taylor Swift’s new song, “Out of the Woods” had been released. So at 11pm last night, while I was waiting for something to download on my iPod, I looked on my iPhone and bought it for $1.29. And then I saw Pitbull’s “Fireball” video, so I grabbed that too. And then Taylor Swift’s video, “Mine” was on sale for 99 cents… so I spent $4.50 on music just because I wanted it.

A few weeks ago, I had a song running through my head that went something like, “LA international airport… where the big jet engines roar…” A silly song, for sure, but it was in my head… so I went to iTunes, looked it up, found it was a 70s country song by Susan Raye. Spent 99 cents and downloaded it. Listened to it twice, satisfied my nostalgia, and now its among the 16K on the iPod.

But sometimes I feel like... we've lost an era. We truly have.

And now, I'm going to listen to "Turn Your Love Around" by George Benson and "Bang Bang" by Jessie J featuring Ariana Grande, both of which I randomly downloaded today. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

the creepy like

I did just get a new iPhone recently, and just in time, too... the whole thing was about to implode. The software apparently had a glitch, and in order to fix it, you had to do a backup and a restore and then fix this and then fix that and... it was just too much work.

So, in September, The Lovely Steph Leann and I traded in our 2-year-old iPhone 4s phones, which had served us well, for a newer model--namely, the 5. Not the fancier 5c, but the 5, which is just fine. Definitely not the 6 or 6+, because that's too much.

We like to be one level behind... when the 5 came out, we upgraded our 3sg (or whatever it was called) for the 4s, and now we're up to the version 5... we figure when the iPhone 8 is released in 2016, it'll be just about time for us to get a 6... for like, 99 cents. Because that's what the 5 cost us, and the 4 before that.

My old phone was such a hassle... it took forever to load a page, especially Facebook and sometimes it wouldn't even load Instagram. And the worst part about it was the scroll delay... sometimes you would flick your fingers up and down the screen, and it wouldn't scroll... so you'd hit it again, trying to get it to move. Then, it would finally catch up, and anywhere you had hit the screen while it was frozen, it would take that tap and apply it to whatever is on the screen.

For example, I have a friend named Missi on Facebook. She has a large family, one that I joke should be a reality show (I call it "Lee & Missi Ivey + Fivey", to be aired on Saturday nights, right before "Big World, Little People with Big Hands" and right after "The Man with a 788 Pound Tumor in His Armpit"... TLC has the most wretched of shows sometimes, but I think "Lee & Missi Ivey + Fivey" would be a hit.) and she takes lots of pictures as any proud mom would.

This is the kind of family where everyone in it is gorgeous. Like, she is gorgeous. Her husband is a good looking dude, and a doctor to boot. Her kids, from her teenage son to her youngest son to the three girls in between are all gorgeous. You look at this family and either think "What a lovely family!" or "I hate that family for being so lovely", but either way, we do follow each other on Facebook and Instagram.

I scroll Instagram as I do, tapping some pictures here and there, "liking" the ones I like, and scrolling past those that don't necessarily interest me...

An interesting case study would be the psychology for "liking" pictures on Instagram and "liking" posts on Facebook. In terms of Instagram, there are some people that I just simply like nearly everything they put up. Partly because those people always post awesome pics, and partly because I feel that a "like" is a form of support... "hey, you've got a fan out here"... others, I just like pics that I like. I've seen a bajillionty sunsets, so it takes a really, really good sunset to get me to "like" it. 

I've seen two bajillionty pairs of feet or knees on a beach, or in a deck chair poolside, so I seldom like those pics at all. But if it's creative, if it's the baby picture, if you are on vacation to somewhere cool... I will "like" that thing without a moment's notice.
I mean, why else would I have liked this
picture of Fergie?  Oh, who am I kidding...
I always "like" pictures of Fergie.

Back to the family... so, one day I'm scrolling Instagram. And my phone freezes. I do the typical movement with my finger, trying to move it up and down and I'm getting nothing. Usually at this point, I'll double-click the home button (the round button on the bottom). This will bring up a series of pages that will show all the applications I have open, and I'll close them one by one. I gave this one a little more time, but finally, gave up, did the double click and waiting for the screen shots to come up.

But they didn't. 

Frustrated, I contemplated just doing the "hold down the top button and the home button at the same time" thing to restart it--an iPhone version of blowing into your Nintendo cartridge to get it to come on... unsure if it really did anything, thinking it probably did more harm than good, but at least it's something...

Kind of like when you are sitting in traffic--if there is an accident, I'd rather take a side road that might take me ten miles out of the way and 15 minutes longer drive time than to sit in traffic, going 2 miles an hour, even though I'll likely get out of the traffic soon and would be home quicker. At least I'm doing something.

Just as I started to hit the home/top button, my phone awoke... and several things happened fast. The Instagram screen scrolled at a rapid pace, up, down, then up. Then, my tapping helped me to "like" three pictures as the phone caught up on any tapping I did... the first two, I frankly don't remember, but the third, I do. 

It was Missi's daughter, a lovely teenage girl in the picture. And she was on the beach. In a bikini. And my scrolling, spastic iPhone decided it would be hilarious if I not only "liked" that picture, but that since no one else had liked it, I could be the only one. There it was, teen girl in a bikini, and under it with a heart, "@superdave310".

But before I could do anything, the application screens came up, and out of all the apps I had open--Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Words with Friends, text messages, Safari, ESPN scoreboard, Angry Birds Rio--only two disappeared... one was text messages. The other was Instagram. 

Then, the phone went off and restarted.

So I held in my hand an iPhone that had just decided to tell my friend Missi, "Hey, how are ya? I like that pic of your daughter in her bikini. Awesome!" I would have just called "To Catch a Predator" with Chris Hansen myself, but my phone was restarting.

See, it's one of those things you have to be careful of--appearing "stalkerish" in your "liking". You don't want to be the guy who likes the pic 30 seconds after it posted... I've been that guy, double tapping a picture of my friend Megan and her daughter at a picnic, or a picture of a church kid named Morgan and her sorority activities... either one will likely get 100+ likes, and you can like it while being covered by the anonymity of the phrase "103 likes"--but when it's "posted 35s ago", you look like a stalker.

Likewise, someone pointed out to me that you can't "like" a pic that's been up over a year or more. That's creepy too, like you went to look at their pictures and decided to randomly like stuff... I mean, I've done it, but only with people who know I'm only a slight stalker. Just kidding. I mean, really, just kidding.

Anyway, when it came back up, I raced to Instagram and found the pic again, and "unliked" it. By this point, there were already a half dozen "likes" on it, so I didn't even see my name, but I knew it was there. Besides, Missi likely already got a notification that said "d$ liked your post"... then again, in my mind, it said "almost 40 married d$ is creeping on your daughter".

Then, like an igmo, I sent a direct message that sounded good at the time, simply saying, "Hey, didn't mean to like that picture, sorry that was weird" but probably read as "I'm so weird, I'm so weird, I'm really strange, and I'm so weird."

Darn you, spastic scroll.

A month later, we are still friends, so I can only assume no harm, no foul. Still, a little unsettling.
Lesson?  Beware the scroll.  Always check to make sure you aren't hitting "like" on a picture that just got posted, especially if it's from a chick.  And never, ever "like" teenagers in bikinis.  Trust me.  Nothing but trouble.